Food & Drink

The Perfect First Date Spot Is a Dive Bar

Mark Yocca / Supercall

A lot of stress and frantic googling goes into finding the perfect first date spot. But it’s been right in front of you the whole time, smelling like stale beer and looking like it might collapse at any moment: The perfect first date spot is a dive bar.

I say this as someone who has gone on enough first dates to know. I’ve been on a first date at a wine bar (snore). I’ve been on a first date at a fancy restaurant (stressful). I’ve been on a first date at a hard-to-get-to Korean spot that specialized in live octopus (certainly interesting). But the best first date spot in my experience is, hands down, a dive bar. Here’s why:

It’s Casual

A first date shouldn’t be something grand and romantic—save that for the five year anniversary, or at least the second date. A first date is a chance for two people to meet and size each other up. Though it certainly comes with its share of nerves, it shouldn’t. What does it matter if this stranger isn’t the one for you? A dive bar helps keep the mood pressure-free.

You Don’t Have to Worry About a Dress Code

Figuring out what to wear on a first date is nearly as impossible as figuring out where to go. But when the date is at a dive bar, it gets a lot easier. What should you wear? Something clean. Aside from that, it really doesn’t matter.

There’s Always Something to Talk About

Dive bars come with their own built in entertainment. No need to suffer through any contrived bonding activities like mini golf or ballroom dancing or trapezery—a dive bar comes with funny signs, sassy bartenders, decent jukeboxes and the occasional erotic photo hunt game.

It’s Cheap

First dates shouldn’t come at a high cost—they’re already taxing enough emotionally. At a dive bar, either person can easily pick up the bill, proving that while chivalry isn’t dead, neither is a full checking account. Plus, if the date is bad, it’s easy to put the night behind you. You may have lost an evening to a dullard, but at least you’re only out $20.

If Things Go Badly, It’s Easy to Leave

Should your date be a more offensive breed than dull, a dive bar makes it easy to drop cash and run.

If Things Go Well, It’s Easy to Stay

On the other hand, should you and your date hit it off over $5 Boilermakers and Miller High Life ponies, you can stay as long as you damn well please. There’s no waiter trying to hurry you through dinner to turn a table and there’s no fear in spending too much money splurging on a third $18 cocktail.

If Things Go Really Well, No One Will Judge You (Too Much)

While Supercall strongly opposes overt PDA, we acknowledge that sometimes the stars align and there’s just no stopping love (or cheap whiskey-fueled physical attraction). If you find yourself locked in a barstool embrace at a dive bar, you might get some looks, but, for the most part, you’ll be left alone.

There’s Nowhere to Go But Up

After a dive bar first date, your dates can only get more luxe. You’ve set the bar low (but not, like, let’s-go-on-a-date-in-the-grocery-store low), so you know you can choose a nice, casual neighborhood restaurant for the second date or even follow it up with a date at a somewhat fancier beer bar.

It’s a Good Personality Litmus Test

Be honest, do you actually want to date anyone who thinks they’re too good for a dive bar? If you and your date can agree that dive bars are the best, then you two have a great chance at making a relationship work. How do I know? The last first date I went on was at a dive bar, and now I’m marrying the dude.